by Jeannie Greeley
| May 20, 2012
Bend over, America, and get ready to take it. Spanking has finally received the official sanction of desperate housewives the world over!
Thanks to the trendy erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels, by now you have likely read dozens of articles explaining what the letters “BDSM” mean — as if you’re in sexual ESL. (If you still somehow are, the acronym stands for “bondage and discipline,” “dominance and submission,” and “sadism and masochism.”) You’ve probably seen network-television specials on “sexuality,” featuring graphic graphics of deviant things like red lipstick (gasp!) and thigh-highs (cover your eyes!). And you’ve likely been treated to mortifying expository exchanges between news anchors who seem so incredulous about it all, you’d think they still believe in the stork.
I’m all for sexual experimentation. But I loathe sexual trends, almost as much as I hate hypocrites: those who were quick to condemn BDSM behavior as sick or weird or deviant — until some menopausal British troll cranked out a bestseller that convinced them they should be tied up and kept by a rich dude with a throbbing penis. (For the record, no, I haven’t read the book, nor will I after reading a published account of its two dozen “steamiest scenes.” Really?) How quickly you naysayers turn this once-outré behavior into the subject of brunch banter once it’s gained mainstream appeal via Barnes & Noble. I want Oprah or Kate Middleton to come out endorsing scat just to see how many lemmings get shat on in the name of sexual conformity.
What irks me even more is how much of the commentary on this phenomenon paints women as desperate to be dominated, as though we feeble creatures are so fatigued by our struggle for equality and power that we just can’t wait to get home and beg you to act out our rape fantasies. The current dialogue on these depictions largely ignores two things: one, that submission is its own form of power, and two, that much of the domination in the BDSM world is done by women.
In my years in this profession, I’ve seen some interesting stuff in the BDSM scene — intricate and beautiful rope work, antique
OB/GYN chairs turned into sex seats, gas-mask breath play. Some aspects of it intrigue me, and others do nothing for me. But what always impressed me was the air of artfulness and professionalism around it — the fact that a good dom could wail on some guy’s ass without hurting him. So maybe I’m just annoyed that these sexual perfectionists are seeing their craft watered down to “mommy porn” by a bunch of Johnnies-cum-lately.
Yes, I’m happy that all the hard-working folks in the BDSM world will see a slight spike in business as bachelorettes now abandon their drunken bus parties and drag shows in favor of group flogging lessons. But wait till the first idiot kills his wife by forgetting that she’s in the closet with a gag in her mouth. The tide will turn, and the world of BDSM will once again be painted as a dangerous territory run by queers and people who work at the Renaissance fair.
With Gay Pride celebrations just around the corner, I want you all to think back to the days when you recoiled in horror at the sight of whip-wielding lesbians and men in studded collars. (Perhaps some of you still do.) Now suburban moms are hog-tied to the bed, and the gay community is shackled with wedding bands and bound by convention. How sad that it took you all so long to explore your sadistic sides — and how much sadder that we’ve allowed society to so quickly whip us into shape.
Jeannie Greeley is a freelance writer who is one shade of gay. She can be reached at email@example.com.